Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Listen up: Let's Talk Audio Books

On the Road by Jack Kerouac (narrated by Will Patton)
The classic road trip novel. Except it’s not just one road trip but many, spanning years and coasts and even countries. Previous attempts to read this book on my own had led to general frustration with the rhythm of the language and the frequent sexist comments, but Will Patton’s narration changed how I will read/hear the words of Kerouac forever. Having voices--lightning quick in their beat-era patter--to associate with Dean Moriarty, Sal Paradise, and Carlo Marx breathes new life into this mid-century classic. On the Road is a celebration of life, language, music, friendship, America, and the road, even if there isn’t a single interesting/likeable/realistic female to be found. After a while, lost in Patton’s narration and Kerouac’s language and Moriarty’s enthusiasm for everything, you find yourself almost forgiving that notable flaw and simply enjoying the trip.

The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater (narrated by Will Patton)
Yes, I know you’ve read this one already (and if you haven’t, really, what are you waiting for?), but have you listened to it? It’s another Will Patton, narrator extraordinaire, masterpiece. His rich Southern drawl is perfectly suited to the fantastical adventures of Gansey, Ronan, Adam, Noah, and Blue in the heart of old Virginia. While it’s been marketed as a story about the dangers of Blue kissing her one true love, in my opinion, it’s less a romance and more a grown up, modern version of Susan Cooper’s classic fantasy adventure The Dark Is Rising series. Read it, listen to it, do both (I did), but definitely check it out.

The False Prince by Jennifer Nielsen (narrated by Charlie McWade) (see our full review here)
Perhaps you remember me mentioning in my year-end-best-of-2012 post that I was anxious to read this book again. But I kept finding new books to read and well, you know how it goes... Enter the audiobook. Why did I not think of this solution ages ago? Sage is just as complex a character, the plot is just as twisty, and the suspense is just as palpable in this format. And let’s face it, it’s hard to beat having a good ole adventure story of orphans and princes and mystery read to you. It will remind you of how we all first heard and fell in love with stories--having them read to us, giving voice to the characters and images in our heads. So let Charlie McWade tell you the story of the orphan Sage and how he just might become the False Prince. Note: The audiobook is also the perfect way to refresh your memory on what happened before picking up the sequel The Runaway King--TATAL review still to come).

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